New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash Preorder

Gear & Apps

DXOMark Collects The Best Lenses For The Nikon D800

By Matthew Saville on March 27th 2013

Whether or not you buy into their strategy of ranking sensors, DXOMark is still a great source for camera and lens testing data.  Recently, they have been collecting the best lenses for the Nikon D800, and categorizing them into wide, standard, and telephoto ranges.

Click HERE to read DXOMark’s introduction to the full set of articles.

The results are pretty interesting, and as usual for DXOMark, not always in keeping with the general consensus of other reviews on the internet.

For example in the 50mm section of the standard range lens article, we already knew that the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX HSM was just as sharp or sharper than any other 50mm lens available on Nikon’s F-mount.  DXOMark ranks it as an equal match to the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AFS-G. (Side note:  The $196 Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AFS-G ranks within one point of the topmost lenses, including a Zeiss!)



However in the ultra-wide prime section of the wide angle article, nobody expected the $630 Sigma 20mm f/1.8 to rank so highly, in fact it ranks above the legendary (and $1840!) Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon!  This is definitely an eyebrow-raising statement for DXOMark to make, and I’m not sure what to make of it…



Another important note is in the ultra-wide zoom section of the same wide angle article.  While I have personally tested and will agree that the Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 is one of the sharpest ultra-wide lenses I have ever used, it is unfortunate that DXOMark simply has not reviewed the (once again, legendary and more than 2X the price!) Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 AFS-G yet.  In my opinion, this renders the whole article just slightly incomplete.  Wouldn’t YOU like to know how a $2,000 lens compares with a $750 lens, if their sharpness could be anything from nearly identical to night-and-day opposite?

Speaking of lenses that aren’t reviewed by DXOMark yet, in the telephoto category (Click HERE to skip to that article) …you’ll notice that while I won’t dispute that the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 VR is probably the sharpest 70-200mm lens ever made for Nikon, (and possibly the sharpest 70-200mm, EVER) …there is unfortunately no ranking for the nearly $1,000 more expensive Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR mk2.  So the question remains-  how much different might these lenses be, and is the f/4 lens a better choice for anyone who doesn’t absolutely need f/2.8?


By the way, we have a review forthcoming for the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 here at SLR Lounge, and it is definitely a killer lens!

So there you have it, folks.  Lots of information, and grains of salt required.  Personally, I’m a huge camera nerd so I love to read testing data such as this. However I also constantly remind myself to stay rooted in reality.  Having the sharpest lens could NEVER automatically mean that I have the best pictures.  In fact to be honest, sharpness and all these rankings and stuff is just a fun, geeky thing for me to study in my spare time.  When it comes down to it and I’m on-location, I use whatever lens I happen to have, and I really don’t care what the corners look like.  I just focus on my vision, and get the job done.

An aspiring photographer would do well to keep these things in mind.  Treat this pursuit of “the ultimate lenses” as some sort of geeky side-project, and always let your primary focus remain on the actual content of your images themselves.  The light, the composition, the pose, …all of these things matter infinitely more than megapixels or MTF charts.


MS3_0540Nikon D7100, Sigma 8-16mm
1.0 sec. @ f/4.5 & ISO 100
(Click HERE to read our field test of the Nikon D7100!)

Take care,
=Matthew Saville=

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

Follow his personal wilderness adventures:

See some of his latest wedding photography featured on:

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Joseph Prusa

    Nice collection.

    | |
  2. telecharger snapchat

    I have been exploring for a little for any high quality
    articles or weblog posts in this kind of space . Exploring
    in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i am satisfied to express that I’ve a very just right
    uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed.

    I most indisputably will make certain to don?t forget this web site and
    give it a glance regularly.

    | |
  3. capcom mobile games

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation?
    My site has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced
    but it looks like a lot of it is popping it
    up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any techniques to help
    reduce content from being ripped off? I’d truly appreciate it.

    | |
  4. buy thermal imaging cameras

    We stumbled over here different website and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you.

    Look forward to exploring your web page for a second time.

    | |
  5. india phone calls

    I like it when folks come together and share ideas.
    Great site, continue the good work!

    | |
  6. Excel training

    Good day! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

    | |
  7. designer cushions collections

    I seriously love your site.. Pleasant colors &
    theme. Did you make this website yourself? Please reply
    back as I’m attempting to create my own website and
    would love to learn where you got this from or what the theme is named.

    Appreciate it!

    | |
  8. North East damp proofing

    This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!!

    Finally I’ve found something which helped me.

    Appreciate it!

    | |
  9. Smartphone Checker UK

    Quality content is the important to be a focus for the users
    to go to see the site, that’s what this web site is providing.

    | |
  10. mens chinos

    I pay a visit each day a few websites and blogs to read
    posts, but this web site provides quality based

    | |
  11. payg sim cardsm carphonewarehouse deals

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our
    community. Your site offered us with valuable
    info to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our whole community
    will be grateful to you.

    | |
  12. David Liang

    Sigma and Tamron seem to be focusing on lens design and quality glass, while cutting costs on barrel and overall construction components. Definitely a good strategy for the end users who may not need a rugged lens, but still wants high quality glass at reasonable prices. It’s great that the 3rd party guys are putting out better and better glass alternatives.

    | |
  13. Ryan Cooper

    What I find most fascinating is how well sigma is fairing with their primes. Their 50mm tied for first, the 85mm near the top, and that new 35mm being significantly ahead of all competitors is very impressive. I think a radical shift is going to start happening in the optics industry if Sigma keeps putting out top tier glass at lower prices.

    | |